Number of traffic lights rises 30%

New research reveals that the number of traffic lights in the UK has risen sharply over the past few years.

Data from the RAC Foundation revealed that traffic light numbers climbed by 30% to more than 25,000 in the eight years between 2000 and 2008, with London witnessing a 23% surge in lights to more than 6,000.

The report, prepared by former Whitehall transport and planning chief Irving Yass, also showed that the number of traffic signals programmed to give priority to buses soared from 3,801 at the beginning of 2007 to 8,425 at the end of 2008.

It called for a review of junctions and made certain recommendations.

The report urged the the Department for Transport (DfT) to test flashing amber lights at times of low traffic, which would help motorists proceed cautiously at junctions.

The foundation also made the suggestion to implement a "countdown" system which would show pedestrians just how long they have to cross the road.

Commenting on the report, RAC director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Depending when and where you are, traffic lights can ease your journey or be a source of frustration.

"It is plain that lights have an important role to play but with ever more-congested streets they need to be very finely tuned to ensure they are not doing more harm than good - and that means they must react to changing traffic conditions."

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